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Scaling New Heights for a great cause: Flicx Pitch to host cricket on Helvellyn

In an extraordinary blend of sportsmanship and philanthropy, eleven dedicated players from Henley Cricket Club are set to take cricket to unprecedented heights—literally. On Monday, May 20, this spirited group will ascend Helvellyn, England’s third-highest peak, to play the nation’s highest-ever cricket match. The ambitious event aims to raise funds for the Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) Research Foundation, bringing awareness and support to a rare hereditary muscle condition.

A Noble Cause Behind the Match
The initiative is spearheaded by John Neville, a Henley cricketer who personally battles CMT, a form of hereditary muscular dystrophy. This condition gradually weakens muscle function, and Neville’s participation underscores the resilient spirit behind the event. “I’ve never really spoken about it that much – recently though I decided I should try and raise awareness and do something about it,” Neville explained, reflecting on his motivation.

The Genesis of a Mountainous Challenge
The concept of playing cricket atop Helvellyn sprouted from a casual conversation between Neville and Nick Johnson, another key organizer, along with his father, Chris Johnson. “He said, ‘Well actually, there is a bit of space up Helvellyn – we could go up and play a game of cricket’, and we said ‘you’re crazy’ – and yet here we are,” Neville recounted with a smile. This seemingly outlandish idea quickly gained traction, culminating in meticulous planning and a shared determination to bring it to fruition.

An Unprecedented Event
Wisden, the renowned cricket almanack, has confirmed that this match will indeed be the highest ever played in England. At an altitude of over 3,000 feet (914 meters), the summit of Helvellyn presents both a physical and logistical challenge. Besides the 22 players from Henley Cricket Club and local teams, umpires, scorers, and a dedicated group of spectators will make the ascent, ensuring that the spirit of cricket is vibrantly alive in this lofty arena.

The Logistics of Mountain Cricket
Carrying cricket gear up a mountain is no small feat. Essential equipment, including stumps, a scoreboard, and a 2G Flicx Pitch—an artificial wicket weighing a hefty 19 stone (120kg)—will be transported to the summit. The vision is to recreate the quintessential English village green cricket scene, albeit at a height of 1,000 meters.

“The idea is that like you can walk past the village green in the summer and see a game of cricket going on with 22 players in whites – recreating that same situation, but a thousand meters up a mountain,”

Nick Johnson
Highest game of cricket

The Spirit of the Game
Despite the challenging environment, the essence of cricket will remain intact. “It won’t be Lords!” admitted Johnson, humorously acknowledging the stark contrast between the traditional cricket grounds and the rugged, windswept terrain of Helvellyn. Yet, it is this very contrast that amplifies the event’s significance, transforming a beloved sport into a powerful symbol of hope and resilience.

Hope and Awareness
This match is more than a test of endurance and skill; it is a beacon of awareness for CMT. By bringing attention to this rare condition, the event aims to foster a greater understanding and support network for those affected. The funds raised will directly contribute to research, bringing the medical community one step closer to finding effective treatments.

To contribute to the fundraising page for the charity game, do visit the just giving page link and stay tuned to our socials on Monday to see the game and photos of the climb

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